Tuesday, January 20, 2015

State land wilderness bill in Arizona legislature

House Bill 2314 in the Arizona Legislature is titled "Public Lands Policy Coordination Office," but its primary purpose is to "Create a wilderness preservation system in this state" on lands owned by the State other than Trust Lands.  [Right, Arizona Capitol].    It is complexly written and we are still analyzing what it means, particularly for natural resources on the lands proposed for wildnerness status.

AZGS would be given two tasks in the bill:

G.  The agency managing and administering a protected wilderness area shall coordinate with the Arizona geological survey to develop and conduct surveys of a protected wilderness area on a planned, recurring basis in order to determine the mineral values, if any, that may be present in the protected wilderness area.  The surveys must be taken in a manner that is consistent with wildlife management and preservation principles.  A copy of a completed survey shall be made available to the public, the governor and the legislature.

I.  Any newly issued lease, permit or license for land within a protected wilderness area shall contain stipulations, as determined by the agency managing and administering the protected wilderness area in consultation with the state land department and the Arizona geological survey, for the protection of the wilderness character of the land, consistent with the use of the land for the purpose for which it is leased, permitted or licensed.

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